After a year on the sideline due to a knee injury, Alexandria Goodly has returned to form, leading the St. Louis Catholic Saints to a 21-6 record, including seven consecutive wins in District 4-3A play.

Goodly, a senior and Louisiana-Lafayette signee, is leading the Saints at both ends of the floor, averaging 20.2 points and 6.0 steals per game.

She said the season spent off the court was horrible.

“I don’t wish it on an anyone; it wasn’t any fun at all,” she said. “You have to watch everything go down and can’t participate in anything. I had to stay vocal and stay positive, cheer the team on when we were down.”

Goodly said one benefit was getting a different perspective of the game while watching from the bench.

“You see the game in a whole new light, in ways you haven’t seen before,” she said. “You see things you can do in different situations.”

Goodly needed little time to regain her form, scoring 33 points in a win over DeRidder in the seventh game of the season. She scored 17 points in the fourth quarter of that game, demanding the ball from head coach Tony Johnson.

“I feel I am back to my normal self,” she said. “From the first few days to now, I feel way better.”

Goodly said she is more concerned with the team’s well-being as she attempts to lead the Saints to their first state tournament appearance since 2009.

“I feel we have been successful so far,” she said. “Our chemistry is good, we play well together. I don’t have any sisters, so that is how I look at my teammates. I try to stay positive so they will too, try to be a leader by example. We have been executing very well and I think we are on the right track to win a state championship.”

Johnson said Goodly’s will to win — and work — is unmatched.

“Hard work, determination and willingness to do anything to get better — she has those things,” he said. “That’s what I want the younger girls to learn from her. They are following suit because they look up to her. They see something that she does and they do it, because they know it is right. That’s why she is labeled as one of the best girls to come through here.

“If she felt she didn’t do something right, the next day she is going to be the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. She is going to make sure she gets it right before she leaves.”

Johnson said Goodly learned to be dominant on both ends of the court after coming in as a scorer.

“She came in as a freshman and kind of still had that middle-school mentality,” he said. “We had to work with her and make her understand that in high school there are girls just as good as her or even better.

“She had some problems adjusting to the competition level, but about halfway through her freshman year, she started to understand how to play the game and execute. She got better on the defensive end. When she first got here, she didn’t want to do anything with defense. She just wanted the ball.”

Johnson said the year off the court was not a waste because Goodly spent it bettering her understanding of the game.

“She became a coach,” he said. “Now she is seeing the floor a lot better now than before. She learned how I see things from the sideline, and now she is taking that to the court and dictating things on the floor. She has come back and is having an excellent year.”

Goodly said the game of basketball has helped her grow as a person.

“I always looked up to my coaches,” she said. “They played a big part in who I am today as a person. They taught me a lot of life lessons, mostly outside of basketball. They taught me how to do the right things.”

See the original article in the American Press published Jan. 25, 2019.